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Self-titled: Cassette
Fun, tossed-off rock that uses reverb to alternate between haunted house surf music and early Joy Division. I like to think this was recorded by a bunch of roommates making up jams to play at their Halloween party, arguing whether they should go for “Scooby Do” or “Suspiria.” –CT Terry (Burger)

Self-titled: CD
Apparently, all the lyrics on this record were written by Tommy Concrete, who recently joined The Exploited. Unfortunately, I get terrifying visions of James Hetfield and Rob Zombie teaming up in a new supergroup when I listen to this. More than likely, I will be banished to the “Crotch of Hell” after the band gets wind of this review. –koepenick (Wasted State)

The Murky World of Seats: CD
Peppy, quirky college pop. Songs are well written, even engaging in some spots, and the singer reminds me at times of Neil Young, but there’s nothing here I would call crucial. –jimmy (www.bellaunion.com)

The Murky World of Seats: CD
Peppy, quirky college pop. Songs are well written, even engaging in some spots, and the singer reminds me at times of Neil Young, but there’s nothing here I would call crucial.
–jimmy (www.bellaunion.com)

Self-titled: LP
This is, hands down, the most interesting release I have to review for this issue. The main instrument of focus here is not the guitar but the cello. That does not fit into the norm of what is considered punk these days. All the basic instruments are represented here: guitars, bass and drums. But the cello is pulled a hair above the rest of the mix. This creates a unique sound that fits in well due to the bass-heavy tone of the instrument. Add a haunting female vocal that screams with a piercing shriek to yells of rage. Backing the vocals is another female vocalist whose voice interplays with the horror of it all. The slow, moody music that appears to be enchanting can turn in a second, going full force with d-beat rage with crust overtones. The cellist does not back down when things rage forth. She kicks it into high gear with the rest of the band. Reminded me heavily of what is being played by the Norwegian black metal bands. –don (Profane Existence)

The Model: CDEP
Finally. Emo that doesn't make me want to shoot the most responsible party in the band. While I've never been a huge fan of Garrison's style of post-punk, vaguely hardcore-inflected emo (think Fairweather only with much less volume and no Youth Of Today at all, or Seam with slightly more distorted and angular guitars), compared to the tripe that most bands try to pass off as emotional music these days, it's positively exhilarating to hear songs which don't seem to have explicitly commercial ambitions (too much noise and dissonance). And really, isn't that what emo has become? It's little more than arena rock and Billboard chart aspirations - it's nothing more than the next big record industry correction in waiting. At least Garrison still has some guts and blazes something resembling an original trail. –scott (Iodine)

Subversion: CD
The Garrison plays punk reggae with strong political lyrics. They’re from Malaysia and the singer El Pheng has a really cool accent / English lyric pronunciation. As influenced by actual reggae as they’re influenced by The Clash, these guys are seriously rebellious, but still know how to create happy-sounding music, even if the lyrics are primarily about despair. Subversion is very, very catchy, with a level of vitality that’s rarely present in records by bands in scenes that have been around forever. Global capitalism sucks, but at least global DIY punk is one of its byproducts. Some of the specific politics discussed in the lyrics aren’t easily understood outside of Malaysia, which adds to the charm. There is nothing not to like here, and it is way less contrived sounding than similar stateside groups. These guys are definitely having more fun than the stoners listening to Bob Marley in your local campus dormitory. –Art Ettinger (Knot, knotrecords.wordpress.co)

Par La Douleur La Joie: CD
My high school French teacher was a drunk who drank rum in his coffee and made us watch movies like Three Men and a Baby in French. I tell you all this to explain that I don’t read, write, or speak French. This band might make me look up some phrases on the internet, though. It’s an hour of music in only seven songs and the mood is definitely dark and brooding. The occasional hellish Amebix, Neurosis, Run For Your Fucking Life, Tragedy, Grotus-style yelps here, and the music is right up that alley. A cello and tenor saxophone sometimes opens tracks like a Fellini movie playing in the background of a hell feast. Droning, intense, and slow riffs of melancholic power. This stuff is worth seeking out, especially if you want to study your French and hang out by candlelight in a cave at the same time. –Buttertooth (Rimbaud)

Anhedonic Man: 7”
I got this to review a long time ago. Part of the reason it took me so long to get to it is because I was uncertain if it should be played on 33 or 45 rpm. Although I’m pretty positive now it should be 33, in my book, that’s not a good sign. Come on, friends! Give a girl a clue! If I played it on 45, the music seemed way too fast (although could definitely be right if they’re aiming for techno or something), but the vocals sounded okay. If I played it on 33, the vocals sound a little tooooo sllooow. But, there are loads of effects on them, regardless, so that could be what they’re going for. You see the conundrum? Regardless, as I said, I’m pretty positive it’s 33. Either way, it’s electronic music that sounds like they’re tooling around in space with Gary Numan. Brings to mind Air a little bit. A keyboard and male vocals with piles of effects recorded on a Tascam 3 track. Not my cup of tea, but perhaps nice for a soundtrack at a planetarium. –Jennifer Federico (Hell, Yes!, myspace.com/hellyeshellyeshellyes)

Police Water: CDEP
Spacey, ambient synth-wave stuff with funky beats and buried vocals that sound like they were recorded by fish. Somehow it works. –jimmy (sacredbonesrecords.com)

“Mayhem Troopers” b/w “Heroin Beach”: 7”
There’s something in the water down south, and these cats from Alabama have sure been drinkin’ it. Ex-Wizzard Sleeve (if that means a shit to you), drugged-up kids on the Hozac tip. I dunno man, imagine if all those obscure Killed By Death records were influenced by Can and Hawkwind and a handful of PCP. It’s drug music, dangerous music, music to kill or be killed by. It’s punk music. Dig in freaks, this one is worth the admin price. In case you have any idea what I’m talking about, one of the two songs is a Cortex cover, twisted synth psych. This shit is fucked up. –Tim Brooks (Bat Shit, batshitrecords.bigcartel.com)

Self-titled: LP

A droney mix of heavily overdriven noise framing echo-laden vocals and snotty attitude. A small dose of Devo, Butthole Surfers, and long, reverb-drenched riffs make the album fun for late night listening.

–Billups Allen (Total Punk, totalpunkrecords.tumblr.com)

Self-titled: LP
Dark, distorted hardcore with powerviolence tendencies from Buffalo, NY. It’s no surprise that members’ previous bands have had records released by 625 five or ten years ago. And while I do enjoy getting the shit kicked outta me by the music, I’m really digging this black dust sleeve. I’m sure these guys are pretty well-known in their immediate vicinity, but if you’re looking for some raw hardcore from people who have been doing it for years, Gas Chamber awaits. –Daryl Gussin (Warm Bath)

Self-titled: LP
Interesting band out of upstate New York. Gas Chamber sound like JBA meets “Pain of Mind”-era Neurosis. Dark, heavy, and abrasive, and an overall ominous tone. In the lyrical department, it’s very bleak and apocalyptic. The music is in the thrashy vein, with some noise interludes to break up the sonic hammering. The two standout cuts are “Comfort Food,” which has a near jazz-like bridge, and “Drug Induced Coma” that opens with a really depressed bass line. Works well conveying the message of the lyrics. I like that these guys are taking chances and wanting to do something different. It separates them from the pack and makes this music interesting again. Worth your time to give this a listen, and if you live in the Midwest, they’re touring in your area in May 2011. Go, then write and tell me how it was. Thanks. –Matt Average (Warm Bath, gaschamberhardcore/wordpress.com)

Corpse with Levity: EP
Wow.... Listening to the second side right now, and I’m in total awe. The music is morose as it gets. The mood dominates the whole record, but it really starts to get heavy after the second song, “Pigeon,” on the first side. The bass comes to the fore and sets the mood. The music really draws you in. To the point where you don’t want to leave. It goes from brooding to fast and aggressive without pause. Manic, indeed. I really like their LP, but find this is even better. The whole second side is perfection. Gas Chamber are a band that is moving forward musically, and I plan to follow them to where ever they go with it. This sounds like something that would have come out of the Bay Area nearly twenty years ago. Think of Neurosis mixed with early Dead & Gone. Taking this one to my grave. Get your own. –Matt Average (Warm Bath)

Self-titled: 7” flexi
I remember back in the ‘90s when powerviolence bands started experimenting with noise. Mainly, they were following the footsteps of Man Is The Bastard / Bastard Noise. The results were pretty forced and subpar. More than ten years later, hardcore bands and the like are starting to try their hand at it. And this time the results are better. This is the Gas Chamber from Buffalo, NY who put out the dark stuff doing noise. This is pretty good. One piece with a cold drone that borders on white noise. Tones rise and fall, with some sounds hovering like alien space craft. The sort of music to zone out to, contemplate, and eventually come back down when the song is over, or until you tire of moving the stylus back to the beginning. –Matt Average (Warm Bath)

Modern Vision of the Erect Nightmare: 7”
Continually pushing against boundaries and exploring the outer realms, Gas Chamber are one of those bands where I know I’m not going to hear a band do the same thing over and over again. Each record of theirs makes the past release seem puny in comparison. This may very well be my favorite from them. The noise at the beginning is excellent! Seriously, my favorite part of the song. When they kick in to the main body, they bring to mind Dystopia, but a little more direct and to the point. The vocals are shouted with a sense of pain and disgust. The second side of this record paints a scene of hell—with sounds coming in and out of the dark—and the vocals shouted with a shredded throat rasp over the din. Rightfully so, as the lyrics are bleak, detailing the fall of civilization. The acoustic playing at the end comes out of left field and is a great way to go out. It puts a very different mood on the whole thing. Excellent record, to say the very least. –Matt Average (Nerve Altar, nervealtar.blogspot.com)

Stained Hand: 7” EP
From the long, haunting instrumental intro to the A side (“Always Coming Home”) it is clear these cats are more than proficient with their instruments and are thinking at deeper levels than merely “how fast can we play?” “Epic” is a good adjective to use in relation to what they’re doing on the tracks here and, though it doesn’t quite fall within my personal tastes, I can say without reservation they’re quite adept at their chosen take on the genre. Kudos to ‘em.  –jimmy (SPHC, sphc.bigcartel.com)

Lemonade for Vampires: CD
It’s amazing to me that, after all of these years and all of these albums, Gas Huffer keeps getting better. Lemonade for Vampires has all the elements that I’ve come to love in Gas Huffer: Tom Price’s amazing guitar; a subtle, Brit-pop kind of catchy-ness; and an album full of songs that seem to go off in a bunch of different directions, but pull together into a cohesive unit. There’s even a political song to wrap up the album—an ode for the environment called “Ruined.” If you’ve never gotten into Gas Huffer, this latest album is a good place to start. If you’ve been into them for years, this new one will slap a smile on your face. –sean (Estrus)

The Rest of Us: CD
Wow. I wasn’t expecting this from Gas Huffer at all. It’s like they took the trashy rock’n’roll that made them famous and threw out the trash. Not in a bad way at all. This is the musical equivalent to the whole Pygmalion fantasy, where you take a hooker, clean her up and make her presentable to all your friends and everyone loves her and she’s a great girlfriend, etc., but deep down inside, you know she still fucks like a pro and you’ll never have to lose that. It just makes sense, though, that, when you have this much talent swimming around beneath the distortion, you should probably drain a bit of the distortion out of the pool. And that’s what The Rest of Us does. Everything about Gas Huffer is solid in this album: a sturdy rhythm section, catchy vocals, and good lyrics (“the kids are listening to the radio. They can’t tell the songs from the ads, but who can these days?”). But what makes this album amazing is Tom Price’s guitar. Without any kind of wanking or showboating, Price rounds out the songs with perfect sounding riffs. Every time I listen to this album, one of Price’s guitar parts will jump out at me and I’ll think, how the fuck did he do that with only six strings? I’ll think, people have been playing guitars for hundreds of years, why hasn’t anyone else thought to do that? And that? And that? It’s not just impressive; it’s great music. –sean (Estrus)

Human Rights: 7” EP
Chicago hardcore that’s raw as all get out, almost to the point of sounding like some obscure Scandinavian hardcore gem, zippy without being silly about it, and pretty much unintelligible. They keep things short, endearingly sloppy and full-tilt, as well they should. –jimmy (Beach Impediment)

Brown Tongues Are No Different Than the Pink Ones: CD-R
The cover looks like the graphic design work of a twelve-year-old child in 1993. There’s a pic of five young men sitting on the porch of a dilapidated house painted with peace signs, with the name of the band, songs, and the recording in old computer text blocks plastered on top. Certainly didn’t know what to expect, but the noisy experimental first track caught my attention. The second track, with its decent guitar and mocking of hipsters kinda lost my attention. Another all right experimental track popped up before the last song, which was a crappy jab at pretentious Californians. The project’s Facebook leaves me with the impression that this dude is trying to be offensive for its own sake, which has seemed rather adolescent to me since, well, when I was an adolescent.  –Vincent Battilana (Self-released)

Learning Curve: Cassette
Lo-fi bedroom shit pop. Repetitive, annoying, and generally frustrating to listen to. Often times, songs only qualify for the loosest definition of music. When they clearly are music, the songs are predictable new wave-inspired rock. Recommended only if you need something to play to get people to leave your house at the end of a party. Grade: D.  –Bryan Static (NRP)

Split: CD
Badly recorded generic punk on side A, badly recorded Ween rock on side B. I hate to decry a release on recording quality, but sometimes the lo-fi is much too lo. More to the point, there was a way this could have been recorded to make it listenable, but it wasn’t. Lo-fi can be a tool, an aesthetic which the music travels through. This is annoying. The difference between the two is all in how the artist controls the aesthetic to their advantage, which is an aspect that this record clearly lacks. No bueno.  –Bryan Static (8 Up, facebook.com/8uprecords)

Kairos Will Erase: Cassette
First of all, I’ve got to say this packaging is gorgeous. Hand screened image of a bird, on cardstock that’s been origami-ed around this cassette case. The sounds inside though, are absolutely eerie and terrifying for ninety percent of the release. Gas Chamber is super creepy, yet makes tranquil and atmospheric noise collages. It emits a feeling of wandering around the woods near the water with faint reminders of a highway in the distance. A few minutes in sounds of wind, chills, creaking wood, and rippling water creep in. Then gradually sounds of shouting come in like a residual memory of domestic violence hidden in nature. In their insert they describe the release as “a gash into their home life.” Ambient, yet frightening and sorrowful. Sporadically, they crash into instruments with a full band that sounds like Nux Vomica. This record could easily be the soundtrack to a Silent Hill game; this stuff gets right under your skin. I listened to this as autumn weather slowly crept in and it gave me chills. –Kayla Greet (Peterwalkee, peterwalkeerecords.com)

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